Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Genesis 50:20 – July 23, 2019

Genesis 50:1-26

Yosef fell on his father’s face, wept over him and kissed him. Then Yosef ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Isra’el. Forty days were spent at this, the normal amount of time for embalming. Then the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.

When the period of mourning was over, Yosef addressed to the household of Pharaoh: “I would like to ask a favor. Tell Pharaoh, ‘My father had me swear an oath. He said, “I am going to die. You are to bury me in my grave, which I dug for myself in the land of Kena‘an.” Therefore, I beg you, let me go up and bury my father; I will return.’” Pharaoh responded, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.”

So Yosef went up to bury his father. With him went all Pharaoh’s servants, the leaders of his household and the leaders of the land of Egypt, along with the entire household of Yosef, his brothers and his father’s household; only their little ones, their flocks and their cattle did they leave in the land of Goshen. Moreover, there went up with him both chariots and horsemen — it was a very large caravan.

10 When they arrived at the threshing-floor in Atad, beyond the Yarden, they raised a loud and bitter lamentation, mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the local inhabitants, the Kena‘ani, saw the mourning on the floor of Atad they said, “How bitterly the Egyptians are mourning!” This is why the place was given the name Avel-Mitzrayim [mourning of Egypt], there beyond the Yarden.

12 His sons did to him as he had ordered them to do — 13 they carried him into the land of Kena‘an and buried him in the cave in the field of Makhpelah, which Avraham had bought, along with the field, as a burial-place belonging to him, from ‘Efron the Hitti, by Mamre.

14 Then, after burying his father, Yosef returned to Egypt, he, his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

15 Realizing that their father was dead, Yosef’s brothers said, “Yosef may hate us now and pay us back in full for all the suffering we caused him.” 16 So they sent a message to Yosef which said, “Your father gave this order before he died: 17 ‘Say to Yosef, “I beg you now, please forgive your brothers’ crime and wickedness in doing you harm.”’ So now, we beg of you, forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Yosef wept when they spoke to him; 18 and his brothers too came, prostrated themselves before him and said, “Here, we are your slaves.” 19 But Yosef said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good — so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved. (vii) 21 So don’t be afraid — I will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he comforted them, speaking kindly to them.

22 Yosef continued living in Egypt, he and his father’s household. Yosef lived 110 years. (Maftir) 23 Yosef lived to see Efrayim’s great-grandchildren, and the children of M’nasheh’s son Makhir were born on Yosef’s knees.

24 Yosef said to his brothers, “I am dying. But God will surely remember you and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.” 25 Then Yosef took an oath from the sons of Isra’el: “God will surely remember you, and you are to carry my bones up from here.” 26 So Yosef died at the age of 110, and they embalmed him and put him in a coffin in Egypt.  (Genesis 50:1-26) Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

 

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Preserving the Remnant

Joseph held no animosity toward his brothers. He could see how God had used his life to bring a great deliverance.

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. (Image: Wikimedia Commons, by German painter Peter von Cornelius [1784–1867])


Joseph explained to his bewildered brothers that God had ordained his descent into Egypt in order to “preserve life” and “to preserve a remnant.” (Genesis 45:5). Joseph goes on to state that, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7).

When Joseph is understood as foreshadowing the work of Messiah, a similar statement may be made. Yeshua’s brothers the Jewish people rejected Him, but God ordained that rejection to accomplish a great deliverance.

Paul seems to have read Joseph’s story in this light as well. In Romans 11, he struggled with the difficult question of Israel’s rejection of Yeshua. Though he did not directly invoke Joseph as an analogy, he seems to have alluded to it in a few places in this discussion. For example, he pointed out that Israel’s rejection of Messiah has meant riches for the world. The brothers’ rejection of Joseph resulted in riches for the famine-stricken world of Joseph’s day. Similarly, Paul pointed out that Israel’s ultimate reconciliation with the Messiah will be “life from the dead.” Joseph said, “God sent me before you to preserve life (lemicheyah, למחיה).” Jewish liturgy typically uses the same Hebrew word for the resurrection of the dead.

For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15)

I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! (Romans 11:11-12)

Paul saw the Jewish estrangement from Messiah as a necessary part of a divinely ordained plan whereby God extended salvation to the entire world. In this regard, the Jewish estrangement from Messiah closely mirrors the events in Joseph’s story. Paul conceded that Israel has stumbled (though not fallen), but he insisted that even the nation’s stumbling plays a part of God’s plan. Just as Joseph and his brothers ultimately reunited and reconciled, Paul said that “all Israel will be saved.”

All Israel will be saved; just as it is written [in Isaiah 59:20-21], “The deliverer will come from Zion, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26-27)

Paul did not suppose that all Israel must wait until the culmination of the age before entering into reconciliation with the Messiah. He maintained that, just as the LORD preserved a remnant of His people in the past, so too a remnant had recognized King Messiah. Again, the discussion seems to allude to the story of Joseph:

God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. (Genesis 45:7)

In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. (Romans 11:5) (Click to Source)

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Torah Portion – Mikkeitz – At the end – “To Him Be the Glory” – 9 December, 2018

Mikkeitz

At the end

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Genesis 41:1-44:17
1 Kings 3:15-4:1

“To Him Be the Glory”


by Mark Huey

This week’s parashah includes a very important verse that should immediately focus our attention on what God was accomplishing through the life of Joseph, when he is asked to interpret the dreams that Pharaoh has been having:

“Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer’” (Genesis 41:16).

Mikkeitz allows each of us, once again, to witness the sovereign will of the Creator take its course. The sons of Jacob/Israel are once more called upon to be the principal actors in a real life drama that has been preserved for our instruction. Here, the Holy One displays His omniscient will over the affairs of the world. The Lord has a very special assignment for the people of the covenants, and He guarantees that everything that He desires goes according to His script, by deliberately selecting the cast and arranging the unique circumstances. It is abundantly clear from the record left to us in the Scriptures, that our Father wants us to learn not only from the mistakes committed by the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel—but also from the instances when proper decisions were made by them.

The protagonist in this drama is none other than the noble Joseph, who has risen from the depths of ignominious incarceration. Now positioned as the vice regent of Egypt, he finally has a golden opportunity to return the same evil upon his brothers that he received some twenty years earlier when he was sold into slavery. But something is uniquely merciful about the character of Joseph. Even though he paid a costly price for his brother’s evil intentions, he does not harbor any residual bitterness toward them. Instead, he simply takes the circumstances to teach them an indelible lesson. What was it about Joseph that allowed him to extend such grace? What can modern-day Believers learn from Joseph’s example?

Dreamer of Dreams

Joseph learned as a youth that the Creator God is real. From the stories that he certainly heard from his father, he concluded that He was a personal Deity who was intimately concerned about His chosen people and the promises they had been given. His experiences with dreams certainly had an impact on his life. For years, sequestered in dank prisons, he had plenty of time to relive and analyze not only these dreams, but also the consequences of sharing them with his brothers and father. Then, this dreamer of dreams discovered in confinement that he was able to interpret others’ dreams. But before listening to the dreams of others, he immediately proclaims to the cupbearer and baker that interpretations of dreams belong to his God:

“Then they said to him, ‘We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.’ Then Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please’” (Genesis 40:8).

Joseph gives credit where credit is due. He tells the wine steward and the baker that it is only in the power of the Creator to interpret dreams. But he does have the faith to ask about the dreams, and the Lord intervenes. Joseph supernaturally receives and repeats the interpretation without any regard to the pleasant or unpleasant report (Genesis 40:9-23). What he soon discovers is that he is understanding a voice which is giving him the interpretation.

The critical thing that Joseph learned during his years in prison is that dreams and the interpretation of them can cause things to happen. For another two years (Genesis 41:1), he ponders the accuracy of his interpretation until an opportunity to interpret another dream comes forth.

Pharaoh’s Dreams

The next time Joseph is called upon to interpret something, the dreams are from the supreme ruler of Egypt, the Pharaoh himself. Now, the gifted young servant of the prison’s captain of the guard is summoned to hear and interpret the dreams. He already knew that Pharaoh has exacting demands upon his servants. Remember that the baker had been hanged for no stated reason. How was he, a foreign prisoner, going to be received in a society where the Egyptians disdained Semites? Without hesitation, upon being asked whether he can once again interpret a dream (Genesis 41:15), he responds with this concise statement:

“Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer’” (Genesis 41:16).

Joseph’s first response was to give all the glory to the God of his fathers. Joseph knew that the ability to interpret dreams was not something he could just conjure up with some mystical magic. God was pleased by Joseph’s attitude and he was given the proper interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams. At the conclusion of the interpretations an interesting discourse follows:

“‘Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about. Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it. Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.’ Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants. Then Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?’ So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.’ Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ And he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt’” (Genesis 41:32-44).

At this critical juncture, Joseph felt the liberty to go beyond just the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream by giving him the solution to contend with the forecasted famine. Something prompted Joseph to go beyond just a strict interpretation. Is it possible that God had allowed Joseph to mature to a point in his walk with Him, that he was able to be a confident voice for Him before world leaders? It is clear from the resulting actions of Pharaoh that the solutions suggested were things that Joseph had been groomed to manage. He had been responsible for Potiphar’s home and his possessions, and had done an admirable job of managing his estate. Next, he had been put in charge of the prisoners during his tenure in jail. Apparently, he was again given favor and the affairs of the prison were maintained in proper order.

Now with the wisdom implanted by the Lord, Joseph is positioned to be elevated to the second highest political rank in Egyptian society (Genesis 41:38-49). This is a remarkable rise to power—simply with the blessings of the Most High working through a unique opportunity to interpret dreams! What should we learn from the example of Joseph’s life?

Dreams and Gifts

Perhaps you are gifted with some spiritual endowment that has been freely given to you by the absolute grace of the Creator. Perhaps you have the gift of prophecy, healing, discernment, wisdom, knowledge, or any of the other gifts that our Father freely bestows upon His children for His work to be accomplished (1 Corinthians 12:28-31; Ephesians 4:11-13). You know what the gift is and have seen it operate through you at times. Just how do you operate with a recognizable supernatural gift? Your challenge is to follow the lead of Joseph.

First, remember that the gift has been given to you for purposes beyond your own personal aggrandizement. Instead, whenever you sense a spiritual gift working through you, be cautioned to give whatever glory is due to the Lord for His work to be accomplished through you. Too many times, men and women given gifts of prophecy or healing take advantage of their gifting and begin to use it for manipulative purposes. Many times this results in people who eventually bring dishonor to our Heavenly Father. Too frequently this impedes, rather than advances, His Kingdom work.

Hopefully, we can all take the life of Joseph and his humble example as the proper way to handle the spiritual giftings that are granted by the Lord to each one of us. We must use such spiritual gifts for the purposes of glorifying God, and ultimately drawing people unto Him. If you are straying in the other direction, beware!

Cry out to Him for mercy! Let Him receive the glory that He alone deserves! Ask the Lord to give you the same understanding that Joseph received. Perhaps as you give God the glory for the gifting you have received, He will give you increased responsibility in handling additional tasks in His Kingdom as others are impacted with the message of the gospel.

On the other hand, the Lord may decide to allow you to take credit for what He is doing through you. Then your reward may be here on Earth, rather than through eternity. Remember this reality: we all get the choice of when and by whom we want to be rewarded. Do you want the recognition of mere mortals, for a short season? Or would you prefer eternal favor? It takes faith to choose the latter option. Perhaps like Joseph, with some time in seclusion seeking the Father, we might be prepared to make the right choices. If nothing else, quietness before the Lord can certainly enhance our ability to more clearly hear His voice. Perhaps that is one of the reasons He has given us a day to rest and focus upon Him. Consider these questions as you ponder on Mikkeitz this Shabbat…   (Click to Source)


NOTES

[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, eds., The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003), 970.

[2] Cf. Isaiah 29:16; Romans 9:21.

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Torah Commentary – Mikketz (At the end) – Making of a Man – SCRIPTURES FOR December 8, 2018

Torah Commentary
Mikketz (At the end)

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Genesis 41:1-44:17
1 Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16Making of a Man

Joseph’s life has been one of incredible twists and turns. In his dark prison cell, he has had a great deal of time to think through his winding and tumultuous journey. His list of, “If I could do that over!” has been etched into his mind, and maybe even the prison wall. He is not the same little boy he was when he had his first dream. He is not the same young man he was when he was sold into slavery. Joseph has matured to the place where he can now be the tool Yah will use to bring forth the next steps in building His family, Israel.

Joseph probably shuttered when he heard Pharaoh had a dream. Up until this time, dreams and Joseph have not turned out too well. The difference in the outcome will be one simple, but complex word: Humility.

Humility is what Joseph has learned because of his time in prison. It is humility, which has prepared him for his time in the palace. Without this trait, he is destined to think he can live his life in charge of his own destiny; but with it, he knows Who is truly in charge. It is a trait we find in all the “Greats” of Scripture.

So what is humility? Webster defines it as, “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.” Is this really what humility is? I would like to put my own two shekels into this one.

Biblical humility is knowing you are important in the plans and working of HaShem, and also knowing you, by yourself, have no way of bringing those plans about. Humility is seeing you are fearfully and wonderfully made, are created for and with great potential and purpose, while simultaneously knowing you do not possess the strength on your own to get to where you were born to go.

We are, in a way, like the sleekest and fastest race car ever built. We have been designed with great care, each nut and bolt handmade for purpose, but without gas in our tank we are just a showpiece, which can never leave the starting line.

Joseph was beginning to fully understand an important Truth: His life was not just a hodgepodge of other people’s decisions; but rather, his life from his mother’s womb had been designed for a specific purpose. This caused him to stand in awe of the thoughts and wonders of One far greater than he. He possessed maybe the greatest possession a man or woman can ever possess: Biblical humility.

It was humility, which would allow him to look at his brothers with compassion and love. It was humility, which caused him to look to the heavens and ask for wisdom in how to deal with them. Humility would lead him through the maze called, “Life in Egypt.”

Approximately twenty-five percent of the Book of Genesis is devoted to Joseph. Within the pages of his life is more prophecy than you or I can ever fully comprehend. Possibly the greatest prophecy we can focus on is the one which teaches us that, without humility, we will never be able to fulfill our purpose in life. Without humility we are destined to live in a prison of exile. It is humility, which will unlock the cell door and put us on the road to final redemption. It is humility, which will allow our steps of redemption to be ordered by Yah. It is humility, which will cause us to understand our lives are much more than “all about us.” Humility teaches us The Truth: Our lives are about glorifying Him and serving others. (Click to Source)

Shalom and Be Strong,
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Yeshua’s – Jesus’s Birthday is Today – Tishrei 15 – September 24, 2018

Yeshua – Jesus was not born on December 25! He was born on the First day of Tabernacles – Sukkot.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.  (Luke 2:1-39King James Version (KJV) Public Domain

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Torah Reading – V’yechi – He lived – “Blessing Israel” – 25 December, 2017

V’yechi

He lived

jesus-in-the-synagogue

Genesis 47:28-50:26
1 Kings 2:1-12

“Blessing Israel”


by Mark Huey

This week, the final parashah for the Book of Genesis is studied, as the period of the Patriarchs and details about the unique family chosen by God to receive His faithful blessings, finally comes to a dramatic close. Here in Genesis’ last three chapters, the similar dying requests of both Jacob/Israel and Joseph, to be buried in the Promised Land, may be said to simply “bookend” the specific blessings that Jacob bestowed upon his immediate progeny. Apparently, belief in the promises of God for the descendants of Abraham and Isaac, for them to multiply and reside in Canaan, was genuine for Jacob and Joseph—or the preferences to be buried among their relatives would not have been a priority. Additionally, the desire to pass on to future generations, some of the blessings received, was of paramount importance to Jacob/Israel. So as we study V’yechi, it is important to consider how we can individually follow the practices and examples of our forebearers in faith—by not only believing in God’s promises, but also in passing God’s blessings down to our own future generations.

V’yechi begins after Jacob and his entourage had relocated to Egypt, to avoid the ravages of the regional famine. His family was well received by the ruling Pharaoh, and they were living in the choice land of Goshen, tending to their herds. The name of our Torah reading comes from its opening verse, where it is recorded that Jacob lived in the land of Egypt. In V’yechi, Jacob/Israel’s time to die was drawing near. He called upon his favored son Joseph, to faithfully return him to the land of his fathers, knowing that Joseph had the authority to make this happen:

“Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years. When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, ‘Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ And he said, ‘I will do as you have said.’ He said, ‘Swear to me.’ So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed” (Genesis 47:28-31).

Blessing Manasseh and Ephraim

While being returned to the burial grounds of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah was important to Jacob, the desire of Joseph to have his own sons receive the blessing of their grandfather was most crucial to him. Joseph knew the power of blessings from his ancestors. After all, there is an indication that he attempted to retain some connectivity to his forebearers when he significantly named his sons Manasseh and Ephraim, despite their mother being an Egyptian:

“Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ He named the second Ephraim, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction’” (Genesis 41:51-52).

Consequently, upon learning that his father Jacob/Israel was sick and about to die, Joseph took his two sons to his father, to seek his blessing upon his sons. But more than receive just a blessing, Jacob/Israel literally adopted them into his family, giving them equal status with their uncles and Joseph. However, another interesting thing occurred when the nearly blind Jacob/Israel went to place his hands upon the heads of Manasseh and Ephraim. He actually crossed his arms, and placed his right hand of blessing upon the head of the younger Ephraim, and his left hand upon the elder Manasseh. This did not go unnoticed by Joseph, who pointed it out to his father. Yet, the Lord ordained these blessings, as Jacob/Israel was simply following the leading of His Holy Spirit:

“Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, ‘Behold, your father is sick.’ So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. When it was told to Jacob, ‘Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,’ Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed. Then Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.” Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance. Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).’ When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’ Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ So he said, ‘Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.’ Now the eyes of Israel were so dim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.’ Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground. Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said, ‘The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.’ When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.’ He blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!”’ Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers. I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow’” (Genesis 48:1-22).

There is something extremely powerful about acknowledging the blessings of any of our predecessors, which was something certainly true for Jacob/Israel and Joseph in ancient times. However, the irony that the younger would be greater than the older must have taken Jacob back to the time when he was in a similar predicament with his older twin brother Esau. He probably recalled the blessings of Isaac, and the fact that once the blessing was uttered and bestowed upon him, it could not be rescinded (Genesis 27:33). Ephraim received the more powerful blessing of his grandfather. Despite a momentary startlement with the disposition of the blessings, Joseph did not protest but simply accepted and embraced the blessings as they were uttered.

Israel Blesses His Sons

In Genesis 49, we see a selection of text that is devoted to relating all of Jacob/Israel’s blessings, to his natural born sons. The prophetic picture of this aged patriarch, proclaiming the blessings and/or prophecies over his sons, is a majestic scene for each of us to contemplate. Imagine your own father or mother, speaking insightful words such as these. Or, perhaps imagine yourself—at sometime in the distant future—declaring words like these to your own children. After decades of watching his sons mature, Israel’s ability to speak prophetically into their lives was set. Without going into the specific statements about each of the sons, note the greater amount of explicit details regarding the future of Judah and Joseph, the two sons who rose to prominence in their generation:

“Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, ‘Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come. Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father. Reuben, you are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my glory be united with their assembly; because in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are dull from wine, and his teeth white from milk. Zebulun will dwell at the seashore; and he shall be a haven for ships, and his flank shall be toward Sidon. Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds. When he saw that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, he bowed his shoulder to bear burdens, and became a slave at forced labor. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward. For Your salvation I wait, O LORD. As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, but he will raid at their heels. As for Asher, his food shall be rich, and he will yield royal dainties. Naphtali is a doe let loose, he gives beautiful words. Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, and shot at him and harassed him; but his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), from the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers. Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the spoil.’ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him” (Genesis 49:1-28).

Much speculation has been compiled, which has been devoted to analyzing these final words of Jacob/Israel directed toward his sons. In fact, when one couples the blessings of Israel found in Genesis 49, with the blessings of Moses to the tribes of Israel found in Deuteronomy 33, one can discern that these great servants of God were given a glimpse of the future—regarding some destiny of the descendants of Israel. Particular attention to the blessings or prophecies uttered toward Judah and Joseph, indicate that these tribes which bear their names would surely have prominence, as can certainly be seen in the Historical Books of the Tanakh.

In the case of Judah, a definite ancestor of Yeshua the Messiah, there appears a statement that the tribe Judah and/or his descendants was going to be in a position of leadership or prominence, at least somehow until His arrival (Genesis 49:10). Yeshua, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, after all, is the quintessential Jew (Revelation 5:5). For Believers in Him, that there is Messianic expectation interwoven into Jacob/Israel’s blessings in Genesis 49, means that we have to exhibit much confidence that all of his pronouncements have been coming to pass over the centuries.

Joseph’s Insight

After the death of Jacob/Israel, the sons of Israel had a genuine fear that Joseph might then take revenge on them, for their heinous acts toward Joseph years earlier. It is here, where we witness a definite contrast between the faith of Joseph and his brothers. Despite seventeen years of living in Goshen, the brothers were still concerned that Joseph might be harboring a grudge toward them. But, Joseph was not only sincere in his actions toward his family, but most critically, he truly understood the circumstances of his extraordinary life from God’s perspective:

“Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’ So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:18-26).

Joseph was not only used by the Almighty to save his family during the regional famine, but he was also able to see the hand of God upon the incidents that led him to be in the position to save his family. This is a great lesson for each of us to consider when we are disappointed with some of life’s inevitable challenges. When things do not necessarily go as we hoped or expected—but they inadvertently take a turn for what might have seemed the worse at the time—are we able to recognize that God is still sovereign? Can we have enough trust in the Lord to understand that what happens in our lives is a part of His will for each of us? Joseph certainly did, and perhaps, his own brothers might have learned the same life lesson.

Faith and Blessing

So what can we glean from the concluding Torah portion from the Book of Genesis, regarding faith and the power of blessings? We need to each recognize that the Holy One is truly faithful to His chosen vessels. Despite the circumstances of life that might seem difficult, God is faithfully accomplishing His will. If we, as limited mortal humans, could better understand things from His perspective—then we would have the wisdom and discernment to see His fingerprints on all that occurs in life, whether good or bad.

For a reflection back on much of Genesis, we can look and compare the lives of Jacob/Israel and Joseph, and note how each one learned to be faithful to God in very different ways. We can recall how at relatively young ages, they each had encounters with the Almighty through dreams or visions. Yet, we can also see from their personalities that the level of faith was not the same throughout their lives. Still, when the end of their lives came, their faith was quite strong, and they each wanted the blessing of burial in the Promise Land along with their relatives. They each wanted God’s blessings to be passed on to their progeny.

Jacob/Israel and Joseph knew the power of blessings. They not only desired the blessings of their elders, but they also gladly participated in extending blessings to their descendants. For modern-day followers of the Messiah, these examples are something to emulate. However, in order to even want to extend blessings, we each must have faith in the ultimate Provider of blessings. The two go together hand in hand. After all, the Almighty chooses human vessels to extend His blessings to others, but He requires faith as one of the critical ingredients to not only give blessings but also receive them. So, let each of us seek more faith—so that in being blessed with it, we will in turn be able to pass on the blessings we have received from the Lord! (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Vayechi (He Lived) – Enjoying the Fruit – SCRIPTURES FOR December 30, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayechi (He Lived)

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Genesis 47:28-50:26
1Kings 2:1-12
Hebrews 11:21-22
1Peter 1:3-9; 2:11-17
Enjoying the Fruit
Ya’akov is 130 years old when he arrives in Egypt. The following 17 years will be a gift in which he will be able to enjoy the fruit of his life, his family. During this time he will watch his boys mature, marry and bring forth children. Possibly the most joy he will have is spending time with the sons of Yosef. His appreciation and thanksgiving for them had to be very special.
Ya’akov knows his days are numbered and begins one of the greatest honors a father can give, blessing his children. He begins not with his sons, but rather his two grandsons, Efrayim and M’nasheh. It makes me wonder if these two, now young adults, were concerned about what would become of them after Ya’akov died. Had they been told the story of how Yosef was treated and wondered if they would be fully accepted after his death? Any doubts as to their place in the family were laid to rest as Ya’akov changed their family status from grandsons to sons. Efrayim and M’nasheh were not to feel like second class citizens in the family of Israel. May we receive this message in our day.
The teaching of the blessings is so rich, not only for them, but for us as the first words of the blessings tell us he was speaking more to a family living at the end of time than in their time. For those who would like to dig further into these blessings there are four messages I recorded some years ago called “The Twelve Tribes.” The mp3 downloads are available at http://www.joinedtohashem.org/audio-series.html.
When Ya’akov finishes the blessings the verse says he breathed his last and was gathered to his people. I find these words rich. For Ya’akov, death was as natural as life. In fact, most of his life had been a struggle; his death was one of the easiest steps he took. What a contrast to most people’s lives today. Ya’akov may have taught his family as much in his death as he did in his life. This is a great lesson to ponder.
The last request of Ya’akov was regarding his burial. He did not leave his wishes to chance or for his family to discuss. He made sure his wishes were known. This is another good lesson to ponder. For Ya’akov, his last words proved that for him, you may take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can never take Israel out of the man of covenant.
A couple more points. First is concerning the sons and their suspicion of Yosef. Though the 17 years Yaakov was alive, the sons of Yaakov never really accepted that Yosef had fully forgiven them, it is evident through their last recorded words prior to the death of Yosef that this had been a topic of conversation.  Just how many sons were still alive to bring forth these words? Yosef was one of the youngest. Had the suspicions of possible retribution been passed to their sons? We do not know the details, but there is something for us to consider.
Yosef is again a type and shadow of Messiah son of Yosef. Let me ask you this, “When it comes to your life and trusting our sins to be forgiven, do we fully trust or have doubts?” Is there a haunting thought in the back of your mind that there was that one thing you are just not sure has been forgiven?  Take a look at Psalm 103:12. Notice the verse does not say north and south. Why? For if he removed sins from north to south they could be found again. Think of it regarding the sphere of the earth. From south you can only go so far north till you find it and vice versa. East and west never meet. Allowing His forgiveness of ALL THINGS is a very freeing day. The story of Yosef allows us to walk in that forgiveness.
The end of the days of Yosef approach as we come to the end of Genesis. What are his last instructions? Don’t leave my bones in Egypt! Though his life has been one of great honor and prosperity in Egypt, he learned and walked in the example of his father, “You can take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can’t take Israel out of the man of covenant”.
Let us live that lesson well! (Click to Source)

 

Weekly Torah Readings: Vay’khi – from One New Man Bible – Dec 29, 2017

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Vay’khi

Jacob Lives another Seventeen Years

47:28. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, so the whole age of Jacob was a hundred forty-seven years.29. And the time drew near for Israel to die, and he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have now found favor in your sight, put, I pray you, your hand under my thigh and deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me, I pray you, in Egypt. 30. But I shall lie with my fathers and you will carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying-place.” And he said, “I shall do as you have said.”31. And he said, “Swear to me.” And he swore to him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.

Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh

48.1. And it was after these things, that someone told Joseph, “Behold, your father is sick.” And he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.2. And someone told Jacob and said, “Behold, your son Joseph is coming to you.” And Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. 3. And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me 4. and said to me, ‘Behold, I shall make you fruitful and multiply you, and I shall make of you a congregation of people, and I shall give the land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.’ 5. And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before My coming to you in Egypt, are mine, like Reuben and Simeon. They will be mine. 6. And your children, which you father after them, will be yours and will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance. 7. And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died beside me in the land of Canaan on the way, when yet there was but a little way to come to Efrat and I buried her there on the road of Efrat, the same is Bethlehem.”

48:8. And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons and said, “Who are these?” 9. And Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons whom God has given me in this place.” And he said, “Bring them to me now and I shall bless them.” 10. Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so he could not see. And he brought them near to him and he kissed them and embraced them. 11.And Israel said to Joseph, “I had not thought to see your face and, lo, God has also shown me your seed.”

48:12. And Joseph brought them out from between his knees and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand and brought them near to him. 14. And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head. He guided his hands wittingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.15. And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before Whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God Who fed me all my life long to this day, 16. the angel who redeemed me from everything bad, bless the lads and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Heb. 11:21)

48:17. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18. And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.” 19. And his father refused and said, “I know it, my son, I know it. He also will become a people and he also will be great, but truly his younger brother will be greater than he and his seed will become the fullness of the nations.”

48:20. And he blessed them that day saying, “In you will Israel bless saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’” And he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

21. And Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you again to the land of your fathers.22. Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”

Jacob Blesses the Remaining Sons

49.1. And Jacob called to his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, so I can tell you what will befall you in the last days. 2. Gather yourselves together and listen, you sons of Jacob, and hearken to Israel your father.

49:3. “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, and the excellency of power: 4. unstable as water, you will not excel because you went up to your father’s bed, then you defiled the one who ascended my couch.

49:5. “Simeon and Levi are brothers, weapons of violence are their downfall. 6. O my soul, do not come into their secret, to their assembly, my honor. Do not be united, for in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they lamed an ox. 7.Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. I shall divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.

49:8. “Judah, you are he whom your brothers will praise: your hand will be on the neck of your enemies, your father’s children will bow down before you. 9. Judah is a lion’s whelp, from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stooped down, he couched like a lion and as an old lion. Who will rouse him up? 10. The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor a Torah scholar from between his feet, until Shiloh comes: and the gathering of the peoples will be to Him. (Rev. 5:5) 11. Binding His foal to the vine and His donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed His garments in wine and His clothes in the blood of grapes. (Rev.7:14; 19:13) 12. His eyes will be red with wine, (Rev. 1:14) and His teeth white with milk.

49:13. “Zebulun will live at the haven of the sea, and he will be for a haven of ships, and his border will be to Zidon.

49:14. “Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between the sheepfolds: 15. and he saw that rest was good, and the land that was pleasant and bowed his shoulder to bear and became a servant to tribute.

49:16. “Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17. Dan will be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider will fall backward. 18. I have waited for Your salvation, LORD*.

49:19. “Gad, a troop will press upon him, but he will press upon their heel.

49:20. “Out of Asher his bread will be fat, and he will yield royal dainties.

49:21. “Naphtali is a deer let loose. He gives beautiful sayings.

49:22. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall. 23. The archers have sorely grieved him and shot at him, and hated him. 24. But his bow abode in strength and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob; from there he became the shepherd, the stone of Israel: 25. even by the God of your father, Who will help you, the Almighty Who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep lying below, blessings of the bosom, and of the womb. 26. The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors to the endless boundaries of the everlasting hills. They will be on the head of Joseph and on the crown of his head that was from the exile of his brothers.

49:27. “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf: in the morning he will devour the prey and at night he will divide the spoil.”

49:28. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them and blessed them. He blessed each one according to his blessing. 29. And he charged them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Efron the Hittite. 30. In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Efron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. 31. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebeccah his wife, and there  I buried Leah. 32. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is there was from the children of Heth.” 33. And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed and expired and was gathered to his people.

Jacob Buried in Israel

50.1. And Joseph fell upon his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father and the physicians embalmed Israel. 3. And forty days were fulfilled for him, for so are fulfilled the days of those that are embalmed, and the Egyptians mourned seventy days for him.

50:4. And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spoke to the house of Pharaoh saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh saying, 5. My father made me swear saying, ‘Lo, I am dying. You will bury me in my grave which I have dug for myself in the land of Canaan.’ Now therefore let me go up, I pray you, and bury my father and I shall come back.” 6. And Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.”

50:7. Then Joseph went up to bury his father, and all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt went up with him, 8. and the whole house of Joseph and his brothers and his father’s house. They left only their little ones, their flocks, and their herds in the land of Goshen. 9. And both chariots and horsemen went up with him and it was a very great company. 10. And they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very deep lamentation and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: therefore the name of it was called Abel-Egypt, which is beyond the Jordan.”

50:12. And his sons did for him as he had commanded them. 13. For his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying place from Efron the Hittite, before Mamre.

50:14. And after he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he, his brothers, and all who went up with him to bury his father.

50:15. And when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Maybe Joseph will hate us, and will certainly pay us back for all the bad that we did to him.” 16. So they sent a messenger to Joseph saying, “Your father commanded before he died saying, 17. ‘So will you say to Joseph, Forgive, I beseech you now, the transgression of your brothers and their sins, for they did evil to you.’ And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18. And his brothers also went and fell down before his face and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19. And Joseph said to them, “Do not be in awe! For am I in the place of God? 20. But as for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to make happen, as it is this day, to save many people alive.  21. Now therefore do not be in awe! I shall take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

50:22. And Joseph dwelled in Egypt, he and his father’s house, and Joseph lived a hundred ten years. 23. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation, also the children of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. 24. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am dying and God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25. And Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel saying, “God will surely visit you and you will carry up my bones from here.” 26. So Joseph died, a hundred ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Vayigash (He approached) – The Day! – SCRIPTURES FOR December 23, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayigash (He approached) 
Genesis 44:18-47:27
Ezekiel 37:15-28
Acts 7:9-16
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The Day!
This Torah portion may well be my favorite of all! To consider the prophetic shadows within these words is overwhelming to me. I have no idea how many times I have tried to imagine the scene we are reading. Yosef is standing in front of his brothers. They have no idea who this man is standing in front of them. Yosef has an Egyptian name; he looks like an Egyptian, dresses like an Egyptian. Not in their wildest of dreams would they have thought of Yosef.
Now consider the Egyptians in the room. Who do they think Yosef is? Some may remember being told he was a Hebrew, but does it really matter to them? They see him as now being one of their own culture.
Then there is Yosef, the only person in the room that knows who he really is. The desire to reveal himself not only to his brothers, but to all present is burning inside of him, but he can’t. Not yet. The testing of the sons of Israel is not quite finished.
Last week, Binyamin is brought to the forefront of the story. He is the one used by Yosef to look deep into the inward souls of his ten brothers. Yosef does not know how this will turn out. As far as he knows they are going to leave Binyamin the same way they left him. He rolled the dice and has not seen how they land.
In the end it will be Y’hudah who will step up to defend his half-brother. Just imagine how difficult it is for Yosef to stand and hear his half-brother come to the rescue of his full brother. It is more than Yosef can bear. Can you imagine what began to go through the boys minds when Yosef cleared the room of all the Egyptians? The brothers are not seeing this turn out very well!
Yosef turns back to his brothers with tears and a huge lump in his throat to utter some of the most beautiful words in Scripture, “Ani Yoseph” (I am Joseph).
Why do I refer to “Ani Yosef” as beautiful words? These words are the shadow of a future event in which Messiah stands before His family to reveal Himself. That day we all may be a bit undone when His true nature is revealed before us. I pray that my whole being will scream with desire for that day to be soon and in my lifetime.
Here is a twist though. Have you ever thought about how much He desires to be revealed?
Think again about Yosef. Every fiber of his being was screaming at him to speak the words of revelation, but he had to remain silent. Would the boys sell out Binyamin like they had done him so many years earlier or would they stand for each other no matter the personal consequences?
So what is holding Messiah back from being revealed in our day? Is it because His desire is not there? I think not. Is it possibly because world events are not quite in place? After all, Yah can make world events happen transpire quickly if needed. What if the answer is that we have not yet passed the test whether we will sell each other out or defend each other no matter the cost?
 At some point in time the shadows of this story will be the substance of reality. If there really is a part we can do to bring it to pass sooner rather than later, how about we get with it. Let’s start today to treat others like the family which will one day be changed from the most dysfunctional to ever live to the one which will be the model of righteousness and love for the entire world to see.  (Click to Source)

 

Torah Commentary – Mikketz (At the End) – Though It Lingers, Never Give Up – SCRIPTURES FOR December 16, 2017

Torah Commentary
Mikketz (At the End)jesus-in-the-synagogue
Genesis 41:1-44:17
1 Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16
Though It Lingers, Never Give Up  
I often consider the life of Yosef as I feel it has much to say to my own life. His life was one of twists and turns that no one could have foreseen. His was also a life of promises which seemed to be out of his grasp. Can you relate?
Our Torah portion begins with the words, “At the end of two years.” It does not say anything about these two years, just states they happened. Think back over your last two years since the first part of December 2015! Have you had anything happen since then? How much has happened? Have you experienced successes, failures or should we say “learning experiences”? What about betrayals or the twists and turns of life?
Consider Yosef’s two years. He was in a prison cell. Probably not much was happening outside of staring at walls. How might his life relate to ours? Glad you asked. Yosef was waiting; waiting for the promise of a dream to be fulfilled. I believe it was the dream that kept him going on a daily basis. He had to ask himself many times if the dream was real or not. When he did, something deep within answered with a resounding “yes”. The dream remained alive and in fact may have kept him alive to the end of those long two years.
The prophet Habakkuk may have thought of Yosef when he received a prophecy now recorded as a book of Scripture for us. Habakkuk was given a promise and wondered when it would happen. In chapter two of his book he is told that though the promise may seem to linger from his standpoint, from the view of the Heavenly realm, it will come to pass right on time. Too bad Yosef did not have the book of Habakkak to read.
Where am I going with this?
Do you have promises you believe Father has given you? Are there dreams in your life becoming pretty distant in your memories? Do you wonder if those things were truly promises or the result of too much pizza the night before? Here in the midst of the Feast of Hanukah would be a good time to bring those things to mind again. Submit them to the Father and listen for a renewal of those promises. Allow Him to sort out what was from Him and what was not.
I wonder if it was a day like I am asking of you which Yosef was going through in his prison cell. Could it have been a day which he was at the end of his rope so to say? He had thought about the dreams over and over and was just about to give up, for the “Linger Time” was just more than he could stand. Could he have been thinking “If nothing happens tomorrow, I am done with those dreams?” Little did he know while he was staring toward the heavens, Pharaoh was having dreams which would bring his promise to pass.
Here is a question for you. What if Yosef had given up just one day earlier? Was the fulfillment of the promise tied to him remaining faithful to it? We cannot say, but what if?
What if the fulfillment of the promises given to us is tied to our remaining faithful to them? Are you willing to chance the answer on this?
Let’s look at it from a different angle. After Yosef is summoned to Pharaoh he interprets his dreams. He then makes a great statement of faith in Genesis 41:32 which states, “The matter has been established by Elohim.” Did those words resound in Yosef as he realized all he had been through in his own life had also been established by Elohim? Did he now see his own faithfulness had been a gift to keep him from giving up?
I am asking many questions this week. The purpose is to cause each of us to think back over promises to possibly cause us to renew our grasp on them. It would be a shame to think if our faithfulness does play a part in His work that we gave up just before a knock on the door. That knock by the way may have sounded like the knock of a prison guard to Yosef, but what was it really? It was the knock of Elohim summoning Yosef into a promise given years earlier.
A last thought concerning Yosef. As the events of his life are happening, Yah is causing a famine in the land of his family, a famine which would cause his brothers to seek food, but find Yosef. What an interesting turn of events as what put him in prison to begin with was him seeking for his brothers. What a great twist!
My ending words are adapted from Churchill, Never, Never, Never give up on the promises He has spoken to you! (Click to Source)
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